Six months since the Myanmar military’s seizure of power, aid agencies are warning of a spiralling humanitarian
catastrophe, triggered by skyrocketing Covid-19 cases and widespread violence. Covid-19 cases in Myanmar have doubled in
the past two months.
While the country is still reeling from the shockwaves of the military takeover, communities in Kayah State and the
eastern Bago region – which have witnessed mass displacement in recent months – must now contend with hundreds of
Covid-19 cases a day. Healthcare facilities remain shuttered as healthcare workers face violence and threats. More than
400 doctors and 180 nurses have been given arrest warrants since the military takeover in February 2021.
“The communities we work with are desperate and dying. A third wave of Covid-19 is crashing down on Myanmar, unleashing
yet another trauma for its people. The population needs safe and fair access to humanitarian aid and health care now,”
said Laura Marshall, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Myanmar.
Lockdown measures, travel restrictions, bureaucratic impediments and insecurity are hampering humanitarian service
delivery. Humanitarian workers and their families have themselves fallen gravely ill as aid agencies are forced to
operate at reduced capacity.
The failure to stop the spread of this deadly disease threatens to drive millions of already at-risk families into
further need. Pregnant women and other vulnerable groups face new obstacles in reaching essential care and basic
services. Cases of food insecurity and indebtedness are expected to climb significantly in the coming months, especially
given rising food prices, job losses and currency depreciation.
While humanitarian assistance and medical care is urgently needed to save lives today, a rapidly expanded vaccination
program is required to move the country out of this crisis. Unfortunately, only 3.6 million vaccine doses are expected
to be allocated through COVAX, a drop in the ocean for the country’s population of 54.4 million.
As aid agencies operating in Myanmar, we call on political leaders to do everything possible to assist the people of
Myanmar in their hour of need. Their actions should include the immediate implementation of the ASEAN five-point
consensus, agreed in April, to rapidly scale up aid and vaccination for across Myanmar. In addition, we call for an end
to attacks on healthcare and for all parties to engage in dialogue which allows for urgent access to assistance to those
who require it.
DanChurchAid – Norwegian Church Aid
Danish Refugee Council
Finnish Refugee Council
Norwegian Refugee Council
People in Need
Save the Children
Voluntary Service Overseas